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Knight Transportation Jobs: Driver Pay, Requirements, and Reviews

Knight Transportation is one of the leading haulage firms in the U.S., with over 4,000 trucks, more than 4,200 drivers, and 25 terminals located across the country. Known as an industry leader in growth, profitability, culture, and innovation, Knight offers drivers an above-average salary package alongside various on-the-job perks, bonuses, and benefits.

Driver turnover at Knight is lower than the industry average, in part due to its family-friendly culture and commitment to flexibility. The company also believes in face-to-face interactions and wants drivers to be known by their names, not just numbers.

If you’re considering a career as a truck driver with Knight Transportation, learn more about the types of roles available, typical salaries, available benefits, training opportunities, and more.

Is Knight Transportation Owned by Swift?

In 2017, Knight Transportation merged with Swift Transportation to create Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, Inc., often shortened to Knight-Swift. Along with Knight and Swift Transportation, the company also includes Barr-Nunn Transportation and Abilene Motor Express.

Four cousins originally founded Knight Transportation in 1990 in Phoenix, Arizona. All four worked for Swift Transportation and had over 80 years of combined experience in the transportation industry. Starting with just one terminal and a handful of trucks, Knight soon grew into a hugely successful enterprise ranked as one of Forbes’ Top 200 Best Small Companies for several straight years.

Types of Knight Transportation Truck Driving Jobs

Truck drivers can apply to several different Knight Transportation jobs, including:

  • Dry Van: Knight’s dry van drivers typically work regional positions with an average haul of about 475 miles. The role can be either full- or part-time and provides flexible home time options.
  • Refrigerated: Drivers in Knight’s refrigerated division typically spend more time on the road than other workers, with an average haul length of 750 miles.
  • Port and Rail: Knight’s port and rail division is ideal for drivers who want to spend more time with their families. Drivers normally work Monday through Friday day or night shifts, with daily home time.
  • Flatbed: Flatbed drivers at Knight Transportation are dedicated to one customer and only run specific regions and routes. They transport items that aren’t eligible for traditional hauling due to their size, weight, or shape and typically earn a higher wage than other drivers.

In addition to these core driving roles, Knight also offers positions for driver trainers and owner operators.

What Does Knight Transportation Pay?

With several different types of driving opportunities, Knight Transportation driver pay can vary. The amount drivers earn is generally based on the type of position, number of miles driven, driver’s experience, and local service center.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a truck driver in the U.S. in 2020 was $48,710. Drivers at Knight make significantly higher salaries than the annual average.

Dry van drivers normally get paid weekly, and their salaries vary greatly depending on the type of route they run. For example, one opening for a dedicated route based in Oregon and Washington is advertised at $65,000 per year, while an intra-Texas route pays $52,000+ annually. A team-based role, which spans 48 states, pays up to $175,000 per year split—though it involves driving over 5,500 miles per week.

Refrigerated truck drivers tend to earn between $60,000 and $70,000 per year, with some roles advertised as paying $0.50 per mile on an average weekly drive of at least 2,700 miles. Port and rail drivers earn an average of $1,300 every week, with the top drivers making around $1,900 per week.

Dedicated flatbed drivers earn higher pay than other driving positions at Knight due to their specialized skills. They make, on average, $80,000 per year and receive tarping and stop pay.

In addition to their regular salary, drivers at Knight can earn a variety of bonuses, such as $100 for dealing with hazmat materials, introductory and transitional bonuses of up to $6,000, driver referral bonuses of $1,500, monthly safety and production bonuses, and the Keep America Trucking bonus program.

Knight Transportation Driver Perks and Benefits

As well as earning an above-average salary, drivers at Knight receive a variety of perks and benefits, like weekly pay, trucks that are less than two years old (compared to the industry average of 6+ years), and other gifts and incentives. For example, the company’s impressive starter package for flatbed drivers includes a $6,000 transition bonus, a jacket, and the choice of four gifts, including flat-screen televisions, iPads, neck massagers, Yeti coolers, and microwaves, among other items.

The company also runs the Route To A Million Miles program, which celebrates drivers who reach specific milestones in their careers. Knight rewards drivers with milestone gifts, stocks, and even a brand-new custom truck at one million miles.

In addition, Knight drivers can take advantage of several traditional benefits, including:

  • Paid time off
  • Single-source dispatch
  • Enhanced rider and pet policies
  • Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance
  • 401(k) with company match
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Military benefits

Knight Transportation Truck Driver Requirements

Drivers at Knight Transportation must meet certain requirements before they can join the company. To successfully apply for a position as a Knight truck driver, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Hold a current Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL A), or a permit with a plan to join Knight’s CDL School
  • Be able to pass medical and functional capacity testing
  • Have no DWIs or DUIs in the last 10 years or the last five years if prior to obtaining your CDL
  • Have no more than two moving violations in the last two years
  • Have no more than two accidents or incidents in the last three years

Veterans can take advantage of Knight’s military apprenticeship and scholarship programs, both of which are nationally approved under the Valor Act and provide servicemen and women with a steady transportation career that offers a flexible schedule and consistent income.

Those who wish to become a driver but haven’t yet earned their CDL can take part in Knight’s CDL School, located at the company’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and partner schools all over the country. Training takes around three weeks and costs $3,995, with refresher courses available for $1,200. Learners can save 25% by paying in advance or take advantage of the loan program with weekly payments.

Once drivers have earned their CDL, they’ll go on the road with a trainer for between four and six weeks until they’re ready to go it alone. Pay for this period varies per location but is around $500 per week on average.

Applying to Drive for Knight Transportation: Instructions and Advice

The first step to starting a career as a truck driver with Knight is filling out an online application. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number, home address history, driver’s license history, employment history, military history (if applicable), and details of any traffic accidents, violations, or convictions from the last three years. Knight recruiters contact successful applicants and schedule them for the driver qualification process (DQP).

“DQP is not orientation,” notes one Knight facilitator in an interview conducted by Youtuber and driver Dollface Trucker. “Understand that in this industry, you’re just not automatically given the keys to a truck, you have to qualify… by passing a drug screen, a physical, and a road test.”

“My whole process was finished within a week,” says Youtuber Andre Salvatore, who worked for Knight as an OTR driver after going through their CDL School. “I went and took the DLT physical at the DMV, that was all in two days. Once I finished that, I let Emily (my recruiter) know, she had me set up that very week. She sent me my hotel and school information on that Saturday, and then I left (for school) on Monday.”

Knight also now offers virtual orientations for its drivers, which not only makes the process safer for those with COVID-related concerns but allows applicants to take control of their schedule and complete the process in their own time and at their own pace.

Is Knight Transportation a Good Place to Work?

Drivers who already work for Knight generally give the company favorable reviews and often talk about the friendly working atmosphere, flexibility, well-maintained equipment, family focus, and above-average salary and benefits. The below reviews directly from current and former Knight truck drivers can help give applicants a better idea about what to expect.

Knight Transportation Reviews of Truck Driving Jobs

A former truck driver from Charlotte, NC, lists some pros of the job: “Treated as a friend and not just some employee. Home when needed, they understood the position while also understanding family needs. Pay was decent, not always about the pay if the situation works out though. Trucks were great.” As for cons, they say, “Wish there was more money but that’s almost a given. The trucks were great but help us save money by allowing inverters. Lease purchase sooner than later would be great. Overall was a great management and company.”

A current Knight Transportation employee praises the fantastic flexibility. “Knight is a great company to work for. There are always loads and the trip is scheduled with enough time to get it there if you aren’t just messing around. The flexibility in some of their routes is amazing giving people plenty of home time. My dispatcher is fantastic and even when things go wrong, as they do, he always does what he can to fix the situation. I’ve worked for another company who micromanaged every single thing. So long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you are left alone to get the job done.”

Another current employee thinks Knight is a good place to start a trucking career and explains the pros as, “Good team to work with, usually reliable freight. They do their best to work in your home time, unexpected or not, as long as your request is reasonable. A lot of terminal locations. Good breakdown system.” For cons, they state, “Trailers aren’t in good shape, most I pick up (50% – 75%) have at least one violation from lazy drivers that drop them. Pay could be a little higher, but if you’re starting out you can’t complain too much about it. Detention (not too common) doesn’t pay much, nor does breakdown.”

Where Else Can You Apply?

If you’re interested in working as a truck driver but aren’t yet sure if Knight Transportation is the company for you, look for similar roles at other industry-leading truckload haulage firms such as Western Express, Transport America, and Crete Carrier. If you don’t yet have your CDL and want a guaranteed job after training, Knight’s Driver Trainer program can get you on the road as a truck driver in just a few weeks.